tv [untitled] June 27, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm PDT
organization contact the task force for speaking engagements? >> if you call and ask to speak to jim miller. >> is there any effort to formalize the relationship with a community-based organization? >> right now, we do not have that effort in place. it is a good idea, it is something that we have talked about. it is important for us to understand what the cbos are doing. it is important for them to have specific training for their individuals. they should also have some guidelines and some criteria to evaluate their successes, on a
quarterly and yearly basis. >> thank you. last question. what are the types of job opportunities that are available for at risk youth? what are the funding opportunities? >> there are not many job opportunities right now. with the way that funding is currently, it is only being reduced. what we try to do is think creative. we try to create an internship programs, where we try to confuse -- infuse youth. we utilize a lot of non-western ways of trying to have youth identified. we infuse political education so
they can make a good choice. there are other programs like oasis. there are not many opportunities, not everybody could work -- all the work permits required. it also requires a social security number. alternative pathways are a good way to go, such as those internship opportunities. use these venues as an opportunity to have kids reflect and make positive choices by leading them to a path of self- determination. >> it is the mayor's youth employment program. the mayor has made a commitment
to employ as many youth as possible. that is something that we hope will help. i want to thank all of our panelists today. give them a round of applause. [applause] >> the way we structured this panel, a short presentation to introduce the topic of neuroscience. then we will go to ask questions of all the different members. [applause] >> thank you very much for that kind introduction, for the invitation. i am a narrow scientists. i studied your -- i am a new row
scientist. i study your brain. what neuroscience might have to offer in terms of understanding individuals to buy a different personality disorders are problems or mental illness. your first client that you are studying is named brad. he has a normal iq, he has been divorced and remarried. he has no history of psychiatric illness. oddly, has worked as a correctional officer for a while. he has worked as a schoolteacher. 16 years ago, he hit his head and knocked himself unconscious. no kind of neurological events following that. for the last year, he has had some migraines. he started using pornography on the internet. he started soliciting sex from
women working in massage parlors. he reports that he has a very high sex drive and conceals his behavior because he feels that it is wrong. there is a picture. [laughter] in 2010, he makes some subtle sexual advances to his stepdaughter. mom find out about this and brad is legally removed from the home and diagnosed as a pedophile. he is chemically castrated in treatment to try to reduce his sexual behavior. he is found guilty of child molestation and he is sent to a sexual addiction facility or jail. brad chooses rehab. in rehab, he starts being inappropriate. staff. he starts to solicit sex from other clients. he has some of bedwetting.
the night before he goes to prison, he complains of a headache. we will send you and get it and -- get an mri. it looks like this. this is a tumor. another way to look at it is like this. that is not good. the question is, is this tomorrow related to his aberrant behavior that he has started -- tumor related to his average behavior that he has started to have? he has recovered from all the different memory and other types of problems. he aces a eighth course and then he has returned, and his wife takes him back and. he has just been arrested again. this is what you are dealing
with as a public defender. do you order and other -- another mri? guess what? the tumor is back. is it relevant to his sentencing? or to his mitigation? we will talk about that. you have a child, 16, he has an above-average iq. he has done very well in high school. he is involved in sporting activities and other types of social activities. one night, he is out with some friends. there is a fight. he hits another teenager in the head. he ends up in a serious coma with a head injury. justin is charged with attempted murder and use of a weapon. here is his mug shot. [laughter] the prosecution says they want
to seek a sentence of a life without the possibility of parole. isn't there something about this? maybe the supreme court has talked about this? in 2009, the supreme court eliminated the sentence of life without the possibility of parole for non-homicide cases. for the first time, the supreme court sided adolescents -- cited adolescent neuroscience. a 12-year-old brain develops. you will watch its start to mature until you hit about 24 or 25. for those of you who are parents, you do not need a scan. for those of us who went to adolescence, we know it was a
time of poor decision making. the supreme court used the picture of the brain in order to make the decision. there is this nice development over time that is associated with changes in composition and changes in how you process the world and make decisions. ok. now you have another client named george. he is a 55-year-old white male offender. he has a history of being in and out of jail. his iq is very low. george has a very low iq, they might have to refer to him as being retarded. he has arrested for murder and the prosecution is seeking the death penalty. the supreme court said you are not allowed for individuals with
low iqs. prosecution says the iq is 72, high enough to execute. is there anything that neuroscience can do about george? i am just kidding, this is george. [laughter] what do we know about the neuroscience of gray matter? what can i tell you about that? the bad news, as he gets older, the gray matter goes down. i did this quick analysis on my computer. all of these areas i am showing you in blue, this is the bottom of the brain. i did not slice up my own brain to do this. all of these areas in blue are going down as you get older. that is aging.
you are seeing the gray matter changes over time as you age. it also turns out that gray matter is highly correlated with iq. depending on the type of -- how we measure iq, we find a nice relationship between iq and gray matter. i am showing you these beautiful color images and now i can show you these maps. it turns out that i do not need to test you for iq. i particular brain and it will tell you what your iq is. we will be able to tell you what your actual to iq is. isn't that neat? that is what neuroscience is likely to do in the near future. anyone know that is?
exactly. hinckley was a 26-year-old male who tried to assassinate president reagan. he tried to gain the affection of jodie foster. he pled insanity and images were used for the very first time in this case. they used to support the diagnosis that he was psychotic. he heard voices, hallucinations, delusions. the images at the time or something called -- we know that it is not diagnostic now. it is a risk faster -- factor. you are more likely to develop these types of illnesses. but he was found insane based on this information and sentenced to an insane asylum. he has now been released,
starting in 2009, to a thousand -- 2010. he is well treated and managed. they told me i had to go away faster. if you happen to have schizophrenia or you hear voices or hallucinations, it is with 99% certainty that i can show that your brain is different. if you have schizophrenia -- just pretend. what do you see that is different? these areas are much different, much more engaged. you might see there is a lot more blue as well in this map. look at this area. it is very different than that area, much more engaged. if you have a bipolar illness, you are different than if you have schizophrenia.
they could have this illness or in this illness, those are the two most common. physicians cannot tell the difference, but mri scanners can. the legal system, i can use this instead of psychiatrists to support or are not my client has a mental illness. they would be able to inform and make decisions about how these things should be used in the legal system. what about this guy? anthony hopkins. what does his brain look like? if your behavior is completely different, your brain is going to be different.
women, you know that men have different behavior. mris are capable of telling you how this gender difference is manifest. we can also study people like him. i study individuals -- if you want to look at your spousal score on this, see me later. individuals have a profound inability to really appreciate -- they are extremely callous. let me give you my interpretation of how to understand this. do you feel any remorse for what you have done? almost everyone, right? at least on television. how many of you -- you look at the defendant and sometimes the defendant does not have a good answer to that question. how many of you can solve this equation?
now you know how psychopath feels when he is asked about remorse. individuals who lacked this ability that most of us take for granted, that is how they feel. hopefully, i did giving you a touch of a psychopathy for a nanosecond. how do we study people like him? we can transport him out from the present to the hospital. one of the things my lab does, we built a really nice trailer in new mexico. here is my trailer. i live in a trailer in mexico. [laughter] this trailer has a really nice mri in it. we work with inmates to volunteer force studies and how to make them better. what we have found is that
individuals to have those psychopathic traits, only about a third of all inmates will score really high on the straights. they have reduced gray matter density in these areas. this is the same area where that guy had the tumor. these individuals, control and for all the important things, they are all from pretty average environments. extremely different in terms of structure. does this go towards mitigation? how should it be used? how should this information be used to? i use it to dole out treatment. that is how i thought we would kick start this seminar. i am happy to answer any other questions. i did not do this all by myself. i had a lot of individuals who
helped me with this data. this research is all funded by the national research of health, your tax dollars. thank you for your attention. i will turn over to our moderator. thank you. [applause] >> actually, i would like to, i'm going to ask a few questions, but i was hoping we could get a debate going here rather than with me trying to ask intelligent questions and just have the very smart people just talking amongst themselves to educate us. so one of the questions that we're wanting to talk about today was the idea of free will in terms of the criminal justice system. and i would like to ask each of you, is there a definition of free will in the context of your individual work? we'll start with you, doctor. >> i would punt that one right over to david who is the expert in free will, and then we actually spent all last night
debating this. david can start. >> ok. >> do you consciously choose to do that? [laughter] >> i think that free will is a mainly unhelpful concept and i think that you have to ask the question from the legal system and from the science perspective as to what free will might mean. on the science side, the question really is, and this is what we were debating, is the question whether you can operationally define free will so you can measure it? from a scientist's standpoint, a construct doesn't really mean anything if you can't measure it. i have been asked many, many newer scientists including ken, what exactly does free will mean and how do you measure it? it could be like emotional control. it could be something like impulsivity, impulse control and you get back to the basic problem that chris who is a
colleague of anita's at vanderbilt, wait he has put it, how do you distinguish and irresistible impulse from an impulse not resisted. there is a basic gray area, a difficult ability to say, did you actually choose that and did you choose it in a way that the law would recognize. so the law all of the time develops concepts that scientists are interested in studying. it might be competency, for example. well, competency is really a multifaceted construct from a legal perspective. it could be competency to be executed, it could be competency to commit a crime. it could be competency to contribute to the decision as to whether voluntarily commit yourself to a mental hospital. it could be competency to participate in an abortion decision. so competency means many different things. the first thing you have to do as a scientist is ask the question, well, what does the
law mean by it because if you want me to measure it, i have to somehow apply it. so going back to the question of free will, because a scientist can't operationally define it, they can't measure it, they're not really that much use to legal debates about free will. now, what does it mean on the legal side? i actually think the idea of free will or what is often referred to as volitional control plays a very big part in legal systems, but i think in the legal systems, we don't mean it empirically. we don't mean it as a factual construct. we don't mean that there is actual an idea that someone has free will and has made a conscious choice and that we can somehow measure it. i think that in the criminal law, what we mean by free will is essentially a conclusion. it's not a premise, it is a conclusion. we have concluded that the person should have and will take responsibility for their action and therefore they had free will and they're going to take the consequences for that.
the problem is when we start actually believing the rhetoric, we actually start believing what we're saying, if you think that, if you use free will normatively, used as a value judgment about when somebody should have to take responsibility and you use it that way in the criminal law, what happens is it starts bleeding over into what i call thequasi- criminal law which is civil commitment. in the civil commitment area, we also use this notion of free will that we generally call volitional control, but we use it in the classic example today because it's so high profile are sexually violent predators. sexually violent predators under constitution the supreme decisions in kansas versus hendricks and kansas versus crane, the supreme court said that under the constitution in order to civilly commit, to not criminally, but to civilly commit a sexually violent predator, you have to
demonstrate two independent factual constructs. one is you have to demonstrate lack of volitional control, which is defined legislatively as mental abnormality which often gets find as a personality disorder. anti-personality disorder. the second construct you have to prove is they're likely to be violent in the future. now on the civil side, those both ought to be factual judgments. does the person lack volitional control and does the person, is the person likely to be violent in the future? if, however, we are actually using at least the first construct, not empirically but we're using it normatively. then we are potentially violating two provisions of the constitution. what you're essentially doing is calling upon the fact finder, whether it's the judge or jury, you're calling upon the fact finder to make a judgment about whether the person is mentally abnormal
defined as substantial lack of volitional control, but we have never actually operationally defined what lack of volitional control is, so an expert can't come in and testify that this person is a factual matter lacks volitional control. what is doing the work? what is doing the work is the fact that the person has based badly b behaved badly in the past. because they didn't control their behavior in the past, they are therefore, likely not able to control their behavior today and tomorrow. but if you use, if you basically define lack of volitional control as past bad acts, then you're back in the realm of essentially punishing them a second time for their original act which by definition is a violation of the clauses. so part of the problem that i see is our inability to define a legal construct that we
consider, if you think about it, not too deeply, as a factual concern, but the scientists say, well, i don't understand that as as a factual matter and i can't define or measure it, then the law is just sort of set free to use normative value-based considerations in making decisions about civil commitment. >> professor. >> i'm going to add, do this a little bit shorter, i think, which is let's start with a question to everybody in the audience. all right, so if you like chocolate cake, raise your left hand. if you do not like chocolate cake, raise your right hand. all people who like chocolate cake left hand, don't like chocolate cake right hand. all right, hands down. how many people found it difficult to raise your hand by yourself? not very many. great, you made a choice. you thought about it. you decided and you acted. and my concept of what free will is the ability to act
consistent with your preferences and desires. just that simple. now how many people here feel like you have control over whether or not you like chocolate cake? raise either hands. fewer, right. so there are two different things going on that we often conflate when we talk about free will. one is your predispositions to preferences and desires, ok. that may be impulsivity, that may be violence, that may be anti-social personality disorder, that may be a preference for chocolate cake, a preference for sugar. i did my 23 and me profile. if you don't know what this is, it's a neat genetic thing that you go online, it tells a lot of things about predispositions for entertainment value. it says i need 16 more grams more sugar than the average person per day. you can look at that by looking at my purse. i have a bunch of twizzlers in there which i enjoy. i have control over my
preferences and my desires. i do have a choice. do i buy twizzlers? do i buy the super sugary candy, do i eat the chocolate cake. the question in my mind is the disaggregation of these two things. are you compelled based on your preferences and desires to act, to raise your hands, to take a gun and fire it, or are you not? it turns out neuroscience helps us answer that question somewhat in that there are a number of studies that try to look at the flexibility of actions. and it finds that you maintain significant flexibility of actions up until the moment you make a choice, a choice to act. we can actually see actions in the brain. we can see you deciding and choosing between actions in the brain. we can see the flexibility of choice that you maintain. now this difference between law and theory as to freedom of action versus freedom of choice, i think it it actually is quite compatible across both if we simply separate what it is we're talking about, a difference between your preferences and desires over
which you may not have control versus action choices and in law, we punish you for bad actions, not for bad preferences and desires. so then the question is, how do we take account for preferences and desires that may be outside of your control? that may be things like gray matter lighten kent showed us that showed us that people like psychopaths have decreased gray matter in particular regions of their brain. it could be something like the guy who he was talking about out of virginia who had the large tumor in his brain and chose to act on but didn't have control over having the tumor in his brain. how do we take account for that in law? that's, i think, the interesting struggle that neuroscience presents us with, but it doesn't change the issue of free will. in fact, we have just as robust of evidence from neuroscience that supports this concept of action which is what we punish for in law to begin with. >> and, doctor, would you like
to comment on that last? >> no. [laughter] >> i would like to raise an issue. theoretically, that may all be true. there is a problem in distinguishing and differentiating those who are compelled to act from, based on their desires and those who are not. and so if you can't define and it's not just simply defining in the brain, but it's defining it genetic, environmentally, contextually, you're defining it in terms of time, if you study their brain today but they committed the act six months ago, a year ago or 10 years ago, so the legal question ultimately is not theoretically whether we can distinguish preferences from action, but whether we can identify those either before the fact or after the fact that had that inability to control their actions. >> yeah, but what we do know is that even like the one that